author My name is Ryan Zielonka. I am a writer, a researcher, and a public speaker. I live in a world inhabited by mystery and surprise, suspense and story. I write to bring others into the realm of theory, science, and intellectual exploration. In a sense, I am scholarly vagabond, ever in search of the sorts of knowledge I can share with others.

Here at WannaBeBig and, as well, within the broader fitness community I wear many hats. I flirted briefly with the notion of becoming a fitness professional but found that work took me too away from what compelled me to learn about exercise and nutrition in the first place; the science, the ideas, and the community that pins it all together. Wannabebig has given me the wonderful opportunity to flex my intellectual muscle as a distinct hybrid of a writer, penning material that originates somewhere between that of a scientist and researcher, an application-focused fitness professional, and a pure journalist.

I began running and lifting in 2003. I struggled with obesity in my adolescent and teen years and decided my freshman year of college to exercise with regularity. I lost 16 inches from my waistline and discarded my size 44 jeans for a size 28. Ever since, the world of exercise science and nutritional biochemistry has never ceased to capture my imagination.

I graduated from the University of Washington in late 2005 with a degree in political science. At that time I began to pursue a career in writing. I went back to the University of Washington in 2007 and in late 2009 graduated with a master’s degree in international affairs. During graduate school I came of age as a writer and as a thinker, and in the process earned numerous fellowships and grants. I also taught courses at the university level and served as a writing tutor for other students and faculty.

Once in the professional world, I interned briefly as a business development associate and then received the Next Generation fellowship from the National Bureau of Asian Research, a prominent non-partisan foreign policy institute. Today at NBR I work as a project manager, independent scholar, editor, and research associate.

I am a voracious reader and a passionate musician: my walls are brim full of books, guitars, and amplifiers. Over the years I played in a number of hard rock, hardcore, and metal bands, the latest being Shadow at Morning, a progressive metalcore act. .

I love film, coffee, cafes, and cities. I speak and read Japanese, lived in Tokyo for a few months, and at present am educating myself in the Chinese language.

I continue to train regularly and for a time volunteered my expertise as an online fitness consultant before signing on with WannaBeBig. At WannaBeBig I play the role of contributing editor and columnist. In 2010 I presented at the JP Fitness Summit on the psychology of body transformation and fitness excellence. My work has been published in T-Muscle and the Alan Aragon Research Review, and I blog on anything that strikes my fancy at www.ryanzielonka.com.